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 James O’Leary, Ballincollig, and Daniel Goulding, Éire Óg watching the breaking ball. Picture: Dan Linehan
James O’Leary, Ballincollig, and Daniel Goulding, Éire Óg watching the breaking ball. Picture: Dan Linehan
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Éire Óg will face Sars in the 2018 IHC opener

BEATEN finalists this year, Éire Óg will play Sarsfields in the opening round of the Cork County IHC next season.

This will be a repeat of their quarter-final clash of last season won by the Mid Cork outfit on a scoreline 0-15 to 0-7.

Both sides will be among the leading contenders again and Sars, with their vast number of players at the club’s disposal, cannot be taken lightly.

There is one preliminary game featuring Douglas and Dungourney with the winners of that tie going on to meet Milford in the first round.

The draw last night featured the highest number of teams in all competitions and there are some potentially interesting ties on the menu.

Beaten semi-finalists this season, Ballincollig will play Meelin in their opener and will be fancied when the time comes to emerge victorious.

There is an all-city clash featuring Mayfield and St Finbarr’s with the Northside team hoping to go one better than their first year in the competition when they lost to eventual champions Aghada in the semi-final.

This could be a tasty affair.

Newcomers, St Catherine’s will tackle Grenagh in their first assignment and the Mid Cork team will be hoping to do a whole lot better this time after being sucked into the relegation battle last time.

They defeated Ballymartle in that game but it wasn’t a good season for them.

Inniscarra and Ballymartle will be hoping for better things too when they meet up in the first round and the two of them were in the relegation zone last season.

Kildorrery will take on Dripsey after losing to Aghada last season and they will be one of the more fancied teams in the competition.

The second teams of Midleton and the Rockies should provide an entertaining game, the Rockies losing to Douglas last season, Midleton to title-winning neighbours Aghada.

Castlemartyr will have Barry Lawton back and have quite a few good, young players in the ranks and will have Argideen Rangers as their opening opponents.

The Glen were beaten last season by Éire Óg and they will face Ballinhassig’s second team while Na Piarsaigh will tackle Barryroe.

Tracton and Kilbrittain should have a right battle and should bring a good attendance to the chosen venue.

Overall, though, one would have to suggest that there are too many teams competing in this championship, quite a few of them really not up to the required standard.

One thing though, it is a

wide open

competition, a sort of Grand National field and trying to pick a winner is near impossible.

2018 IHC DRAW: 

Preliminary round:

Douglas v Dungourney

Round 1:

A. Winners of Douglas-Dungourney v Milford

B. Ballygarvan v Aghabullogue

C. Éire Óg v Sarsfields

D. Ballincollig v Meelin

E. Kildorrery v Dripsey

F. Argideen Rangers v Castlemartyr

G. Inniscarra v Ballymartle

H. Tracton v Kilbrittain

I. Midleton v Blackrock

J. Na Piarsaigh v Barryroe

K. Ballinhassig v Glen Rovers

L. St Finbarr’s v Mayfield

M. Grenagh v St Catherine’s

Round 2:

Preliminary losers v losers G, Losers B v losers H, Losers D v losers A, Losers E v losers J, Losers M v losers L, Losers K v losers I, Losers C v losers F.